An accessible overview of some of the key ideas and social science behind the work of Common Cause.
Though now several years old, this report still provides an accurate overview of key elements of the social science upon which Common Cause is built. It provides an introduction to a social psychological understanding of values and why these are important, introduces the Schwartz values model and Grouzet aspiration index (both models upon which we draw extensively) and conveys an understanding of the way in which values interact dynamically (the compatibilities and tensions between different values).
Some important concepts, which we have developed or helped to publicise since the Handbook was published, are omitted. These include the work that we have since on the effect that communications about one cause can have in strengthening (or undermining) expressions of concern about seemingly unrelated causes (see No Cause is an Island), and recent research on the importance of the perception gap (the widespread tendency to underestimate the importance that our fellow citizens place on intrinsic values). We are also now able to reflect on our experience, over many years, of applying these insights practically (see, for example Discover and Share).
The Handbook was written by folk at the Public Interest Research Centre, and commissioned by WWF-UK, Oxfam and Action for Children. Read on five continents, there’s even (we think) a photo of someone reading it in Antarctica.
Exploring some of the challenges posed by the pressures of short-term fundraising
More information on the two values surveys that Common Cause draws on in its work
Further information on the texts used in the study with WWF and Scope